Sunday, 21 October, 2018


Vettel denies team has lost direction ahead of crucial Japanese GP

Japanese GP: Lewis Hamilton dominates practice but Mercedes insist Ferrari are holding back Hamilton loving life after sweeping Friday practice in Suzuka
Noah Ferguson | 08 October, 2018, 17:44

Despite his blistering pace, there was a hairy moment for Hamilton when he nearly collided with the Toro Rosso of Pierre Gasly at the chicane.

The two drivers were summoned to see the stewards to discuss the incident, where officials handed Gasly a reprimand.

Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo was third ahead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen, while Vettel finished only fifth.

His pace was reflected in his mood, saying over the radio: "This track is awesome".

"I love this track, it's my favourite track in the world, so I'd better enjoy it and not spoil it by starting to count the things that are against me and focus on the things that are working for me".

Validating his theory, Wolff continued: "In the morning they were quicker through nearly every corner but they had a softer tyre".

Lewis Hamilton set the pace in opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix on Friday after finishing almost half-a-second clear of the rest of the field. We've got good data on the tyres from today but it is never easy to predict exactly how they will behave on a much warmer track.

"Suzuka has to be one of my favourite circuits, if not the favourite", said the Briton, who has won five of the last six races to close in on a fifth Formula One title.

Sebastian Vettel was frustrated by a "nonsense" decision from Ferrari in second practice for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Hamilton's win in Sochi was overshadowed by the decision to have teammate Valtteri Bottas pull over to let Hamilton pass. Bottas started from pole and was in position for his first win of 2018 when the decision was made by the team.

Even victory at Suzuka may be a case of "too little, too late" for the Ferrari driver, with Lewis Hamilton sitting 50 points clear and just five races remaining. It's very marginal being on the limit and it's so quick through that first section, being that you go down into Turn 1, up through the Essess and then you are braking down into Turn 8, it's very cool. "It's a monster lap and you always think that there's a little bit more here".

"But I think overall, it has been OK". "But I just came here with the mindset, 'Okay I know where I want to get the vehicle'".

"Time will tell, I don't know", said the 31-year-old Vettel when asked if he thought the deficit to Hamilton could be bridged. "We couldn't do that today but it doesn't matter what they do, we look at ourselves, and we will try to get the best out of our package". "I wasn't totally satisfied with the feeling in the vehicle today".

"It's been a clean Friday, no interruptions, no issues with the vehicle or anything. We focus on our work and we try to squeeze everything that is left in the vehicle".

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